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If you’re on the hunt for more offbeat TV shows like ‘Spongebob Squarepants’, take a look at ‘Adventure Time’, ‘Pinky & the Brain’ and ‘Cow & Chicken’, amongst others. ~ Nicola Griffiths
Needing no introduction (but probably a lot of explanation), Spongebob first burst onto our screens in 1999. Since then, Spongebob and his band of Bikini Bottom buddies have gotten themselves into a number of surreal scrapes; if you reckon you can predict what’s going to happen next in an episode, you either wrote it, or you’re lying.
One of biggest strengths of ‘Spongebob Squarepants’, besides the zany characters, eye-popping colours and laugh out loud slapstick comedy, is the adult-applicable jokes. Always remaining on the right side of cheeky, there’s often a knowing wink to the ones watching that are just big kids at heart.
These TV series like ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ are all a little on the odd side, but are full of unlikely friendships and offbeat adventures.
‘Adventure Time’ tells the story of Finn the Human and his best friend Jake, a dog with the magical power to change shape and size at will. It’s a TV show like ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ in that on the surface, nothing really makes a lot of sense. Delve a little deeper though, and there’s a whole world of vibrant characters to explore in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo, and that’s precisely what Finn and Jake do.
There are enough action sequences and visual humour to keep any kids happy, but there’s also a lot of emotional depth to ‘Adventure Time’ which has ensured that since its first airing in 2010 it has won a legion of fans of all ages.
‘Pinky and the Brain’ is another TV show like ‘Spongebob Squarepants’, in that it features an oddball duo that find themselves in increasingly ridiculous situations despite their best efforts. Two super intelligent laboratory mice (although one much more so than the other), reside in Acme Labs and in each episode plot to take over the world with little success and hilarious results.
With a stellar cast of guest stars, as well as having a 30-piece orchestra record the score for each show there was, and still is, an awful lot of love around for this clever mix of satire, slapstick, and classic cartoon zaniness.
Another TV show like ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ that holds the dubious accolade of being one of the strangest cartoons ever on television, goes to Cartoon Network’s ‘Cow and Chicken’. Follow the life of Cow and her brother Chicken (yes, really), as they try and get through life without the perpetually bare-buttocked Red Guy going out of his way to spoil their fun.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before the series caused controversy, with the network deciding one of their not-so-subtle innuendos for the grown-ups actually went one step too far, resulting in the episode in question being banned.
If you like ‘Spongebob Squarepants’, and enjoy the thrills of picking up the in-jokes that fly over the kids’ heads, then these cartoons are the way to go. There’s silliness in spades, but possibly not the sort you’d want to sit the little ones in front of.
These are definitely for the folks that are old enough to know better, but still love it all anyway.
‘The Ren & Stimpy Show’ is the surreal and often pretty crude saga of a psychotic chihuahua and his bumbling cat friend. It was the bane of many a parent’s life, with the creator being told, “almost immediately”, to tone down Ren and Stimpy’s appearances.
There’s plenty of gross-out visual humour here, and that probably paved the way for shows as wacky as ‘Spongebob’ to seem perfectly normal by comparison.
Another cartoon that previously held the title for rotting young peoples’ brains was MTV’s ‘Beavis and Butthead’. Featuring the two inept, monosyllabic teenagers as they spend their days pouring scorn over pretty much everything in the world, their antics struck a chord with a whole generation.
Not quite as visually attractive as ‘Spongebob’, it certainly has an odd quality that I’m sure any (adult) fan of ‘Spongebob’ will be quick to get on board with.
Can I be excused for the rest of my life?
If you’re looking for more TV shows like ‘Spongebob Squarepants’, then you would be right at home with many of the Nickelodeon stars like, ‘CatDog’, ‘The Fairly Oddparents’ and ‘Aaahh!!! Real Monsters’, but if you want to switch it up a bit then Cartoon Network favourites like ‘Regular Show’ would be just the thing.
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